Constitution bench to hear land acquisition issue from Nov 6

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New Delhi, Oct 23 (IANS) A five-judge Constitution Bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, said it will begin hearing arguments on the issue of compensation in land acquisition from November 6.

The bench, which also includes Justices Vineet Saran, Indira Banerjee, M.R. Shah, and Ravindra Bhat, is hearing a clutch of petitions challenging the validity of provisions related to compensation in the Land Acquisition Act.

It observed that the Act is meant for benefit of the farmers and land owners, not builders.

Early in the morning, Justice Mishra refused to recuse himself from hearing the case.

Some farmers’ associations and individuals have registered an objection over Justice Mishra hearing the matter, and sought his recusal citing judicial propriety. The court had earlier observed that attempts to make Justice Mishra recuse himself from the bench were a practice of “bench hunting which, if allowed, would destroy the institution”.

Representing the petitioners, senior advocate Shyam Divan told the bench that it must look at the verdict that Justice Mishra authored in February last year, where he held that acquisition of the land by a government agency cannot be overturned, if there was delay by land owners who fail to accept compensation within five years, citing pending court cases.

In 2014, a court verdict had held that land acquisition can be overturned if there is a delay in accepting the compensation awarded for the acquisition.In March 2018, the top court had said a larger bench would look into the verdicts.

Divan told the bench that in his over 100-page verdict, Justice Mishra has opined that the view taken by another bench was bad under the law, and contended that a judge cannot sit over an appeal of his own past verdict.

–IANS

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